The obvious benefits of breastfeeding can’t be ignored. It is just too good for you and your baby to not consider it (read about those benefits in plain English here).That doesn’t make it easy though and it definitely doesn’t come naturally for everyone, some moms really have to work at it. It is very easy to want to give up because your baby is hungry and crying and everyone is tired.
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I have breastfed both my little ones exclusively (minus supplementing with high-calorie formula my early babies needed for brain growth for a few weeks each). The beginning was hard! Now that I feel like I have mastered it, I want to share the things that helped me get into a good groove breastfeeding.
Don’t give up! I promise it’s worth it!
The number one thing you have to remember is DON’T GIVE UP! You can do it, Momma! It is the best thing for your baby and for you and it is worth every ounce of effort you will put into it, I promise. There is support everywhere for breastfeeding mom’s and it’s free and easy to find. Don’t think you’re too good to get help or less of a mom if you need help. The breastfeeding community is soooooo supportive and honestly really helpful.
Here are some things that helped me along my breastfeeding journey that will hopefully help you!
- An awesome breastfeeding pillow is so helpful in those early days when you’re focusing on getting that latch right. It’s like a nice extra set of hands to hold the baby so you can focus on the mouth and breast. Plus it gives you great back support so you’re not hovering over and hurting you back. I absolutely love the My Brest Friend Pillow! It has a strap that you buckle onto you so that you don’t have to hold it in place or keep repositioning. The back pad feels amazing on your back and helps give you the right posture. And they have really cute removable and washable covers! This pillow made a huge difference for me. It was like the third one I bought with my first little one but the traditional nursing pillows just didn’t cut it, so I went for it and loved it!
- My two little came early and they had tiny mouths so in the early days the only way we could make it work was with a Nipple Shield. These are a lifesaver but also a pain to have to put on every time. I recommend them for moms with flat nipples that are hard for baby to latch onto or to moms with early babies whose mouths are too tiny to get the job done. What it is, is a little plastic nipple that suctions onto your boob with moisture. You just get it wet, fold it into itself, put it on your boob and then pop it out and it will pull your nipple out and give baby something easy to latch onto. Only use it if you actually need it though because you won’t get as organic of a suckling, which means lower milk production. So as soon as little one can latch on without out it then ditch it. But for those early days, it can be the difference in establishing breastfeeding so it’s a great tool. (Find out how and when to wean off the nipple shield here)
- A nursing cover is also a must have for me personally! You will at some point be out and about with a hungry baby and I enjoy the privacy a cover gives me and baby. It keeps baby focused on the task at hand. Gives me the privacy of not having my boobs out for all to see (if you are all about just feeding with no cover more power to you but for me personally I like the privacy of a cover). I like this one that has a little plastic piece so I can see baby and lets in some fresh air. It’s also big enough that it gives me good coverage.
- You will definitely need some nursing bras too. They unsnap and fold down easily to let baby have easy access to your breast. My favorite was Bravado Nursing Bra. These are so comfortable, they have no underwire so your milk can flow freely, they come in every color and they have padding to hide your nipples that way nipples aren’t always showing. At night time I prefer the criss-cross bras because they are so easy to slide over when your half asleep. The Kindred Braverly Sleep Bra was my all time fav! So comfy and soft but felt like it held my breasts in place too.
- Lanolin can be a really helpful tool too! It’s a safe for the baby cream to put on your nipples when they are sore and cracked. It really works well too. Heals you right up.
- A Breast Pump was also an essential item for me. If I was ever going to enjoy a day to myself or a night out with my husband than I needed to have milk put away in the freezer for my little one. Medela Pump In Style is really tough to beat. It’s easy to use, works with most bottles and has a million accessories that you can find at almost any store. Now before you rush out to buy one be sure you check with your insurance to see if they cover breast pumps. Most insurances cover 100% of the cost. Some random mom at Target told me that as I was perusing the breast pump aisle. I’m so thankful she shared that with me because man are breast pumps expensive!
- I love to use the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags to sterilize pump parts in a flash. They take 3 minutes in the microwave and you can use them for bottles too! Just don’t put the tubing in there it will melt!
- Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage bags are the best on the market! They are easy to use, store lots of milk and the seal is nice and tight so you won’t leak out any of that liquid gold. Lay them flat so they take up less space in the freezer and they thaw faster that way too.
Support is out there! It’s free, covered by insurance and easy to find!
Hopefully, some of these will help you stick with breastfeeding the way they helped me. Don’t forget if you need support and help you can find it so easily. The hospitals have great free breastfeeding groups. Other moms at the group had great ideas to share and there is a lactation consultant who hosts the group to help you. Most insurance will cover lactation specialist to come out to your house or to go into their office for a visit. Often pediatricians offices will host breastfeeding classes for new moms. Or jump on MeetUp.com and there are lots of great breastfeeding and mom groups to be found there too.
You’re more than welcome to reach out to me in the comment section below with any questions you have too! Just don’t give up momma, you’re doing a great job! Please share your best breastfeeding tips!